Welcome, grasshopper. If you’ve stumbled upon this article, chances are you’re interested in maximizing savings on postage. Maybe you dreamed up a genius idea for an eCommerce business and you’re here to figure it all out. Dreams are powerful—Keith Richards came up with the main riff to “Satisfaction” in a dream! Anyway, back to the matter at hand: shipping software is the best way to buy discounted USPS postage. Postage can be an eCommerce business’ biggest expense outside of cost of goods sold, and tons of small businesses still pay for it at the full retail price. So, the fact that you’re here already puts you a step ahead! Locking in postage discounts with shipping software can be the difference between your eCommerce business succeeding or failing. We want you to succeed, so we’re here to point you in the right direction. Let’s get started!
What Are My Shipping Software Options?
When it comes to choosing the best shipping software for you, there’s a huge selection of options. However, you can group all shipping software into two sub-categories: the major carriers and third-party postage providers.
Using the Major Carriers
As we all know, there are three major shipping carriers in the United States: USPS, UPS, and FedEx. All three companies have their own SaaS you can use to buy postage and ship parcels, which we’ve listed below.
Pro Tip: The retail rates are exactly the same at USPS.com as they are if you buy postage at the Post Office. The same principle also applies to both UPS and FedEx. Therefore, purchasing postage online through the major carriers’ websites will save you time, but ultimately won’t save you money. If you really want to get hooked up with the best USPS discounts, you’ll want to go through a third-party postage provider.
Third-Party Postage Providers
Like we touched on in our guide Basics of Shipping for Small Businesses, a third-party postage provider is a company outside of the major carriers that provides postage at discounted rates. There are a variety of choices out there that provide a variety of perks, like the ability to ship at USPS Commercial Pricing rates. We’ve compiled a nice-sized list of different shipping software options for you to browse through below.
- SendPro Online (Pitney Bowes)
- Pirate Ship
- Shipping Easy
- XPS Ship
- Parcel Monkey
Retail Pricing vs. Commercial Pricing
In order to grasp the discounts shipping software can give you, it’s important to first understand the different USPS postage pricing tiers. There are two tiers, which we’ve listed below along with a short description.
- The Post Office Retail Rate (the rate you’ll pay if you walk into the Post Office or at USPS.com)
- Commercial Pricing, formerly called “Commercial Plus Pricing” (the most deeply discounted shipping rates available)
The ugly truth is, every single online third-party postage provider offers Commercial Pricing rates. So, deciding which one is right one for you can be a murky choice sometimes. That being said, almost all of them will hit you with additional markups, monthly fees, or per-label costs…except for one. Brace yourself, because it’s about to get real.
Down the Shipping Software Rabbit Hole
Choosing the right shipping software can be confusing, but no matter which shipping software you decide to go with, you really can’t lose. You’ll most certainly always save money by buying postage at a discount instead of the full retail price. However, the million-dollar question is: how much do you stand to gain?
If you’re eager to compare the different third-party postage providers, feel free to head over to our Shipping Software Reviews page! We’ll meet you at the bottom of the rabbit hole.